Flooding is the most common and costly environmental disaster in the U.S., causing more than $85 billion in damages in 2021 alone. Yet most standard insurance policies do not include coverage for flood-related damages. This insurance “protection gap” is largest among low- and moderate-income households, particularly in the highest-risk areas.
On March 10, 2023, the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance held a hearing on how to encourage greater flood insurance coverage nationwide. EELP staff attorney Hannah Perls submitted a statement for the record urging Congress to expand affordable flood insurance options for low- and moderate-income households while mitigating current and future flood risk. Specifically, Hannah urged Congress to:
- Establish a permanent means-tested assistance program under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for current and prospective low- and moderate-income policyholders.
- Consider waiving “obtain and maintain” requirements for low-income, uninsured households so they can use federal disaster assistance to mitigate future flood risk.
- Encourage common-sense mitigation measures, including the use of NFIP funds to finance or reimburse local buyout programs.
- Improve the transparency and oversight of private insurance companies participating in FEMA’s Write Your Own program.